The Disappearance of Alice Creed - 8/10. Another film I had heard good reviews about, it was much better than Limitless, but again it was a case of not meeting expectations (must remember not to read stuff about films before I watch them!). The plot is pretty simple - two guys kidnap a girl and hold her for ransom. But it's very well-executed. Dialogue is sparse, making it punchy when it's used. The cast is limited to the three characters, and the locations are simple and few. It helps to make the film feel a little claustrophobic which adds to the tension. The reason it didn't meet exepctations is I heard it had some really good twists. Perhaps I'm spoilt after films like the original Saw, but I didn't really feel that the twists in this film were that clever or original. I kept waiting for a bigger twist, but it never came. Despite this, it was still a good film. Gemma Arterton, in particular, did a good job, as did Eddie Marsan.
Period drama / (very) light comedy (1650's). Lots of french interiors. First 1/3 is slow and serious, achieves very light french farce mode from there. Lightly based on a real character. Sort of enjoyed it by the end, might watch it again if I read more about this period to make it more interesting. 6/10.
Light comedy. Director has made a lot of music videos. Occasional interesting use of the widescreen format and field effects for this movie compared to standard approaches to cinema. The script is almost like a Cohen brothers black comedy but for the expected ending, and after a slow start, Ryan Reynolds does a great job making this into a funny movie. 7/10.
Watched The Killer Inside Me on Sunday - 7/10. It's billed as a psychosexual thriller, and appears to be set in the 50s (going by the costuming) though there's nothing else to pinpoint it precisely. It stars Casey Affleck as a small-town deputy Sheriff who is hiding a darker side of his personality, Jessica Alba as the prostitute he is sent to run out of town, and Kate Hudson as his girlfriend. Blurbs suggested there were twists and turns in the plot, but I found it more confused than twisty. The big revelation at the end didn't seem to be foreshadowed at any point, leaving me thinking I had fallen asleep during the film or wondering if the end scene was some kind of dream or hallucination sequence. That said, it wasn't too bad. Casey Affleck shows that he's a better actor than his better known brother, and conveys the duplictous personality of his character well. All the characters in the film are muted and underplayed, giving a very subtle feel to the film. Perhaps it was too subtle in places, and that's why I didn't really get the "twist."
There are some brutal scenes in places, so it's not for the faint of heart, though it's not out-and-out gore. But still, very unsettling in places, particularly when acted with a disturbing calmness.
The most unbelievably false DVD marketing ever from blurb to cover. This is the blurb:
"After a group of friends witness a horrifying crime, they wonder how they were lucky enough to escape, unharmed, while one friend did not. Through this self-discovery they start to understand the meaning of their own hilarious yet twisted fate. As their time starts to run out, the chance at redemption isn?t too far behind".
Nothing about the blurb, or the cover art, is true. At all. This is dark dark dark black comedy with very little comedy but a lot of graphic violence and blood. Yes, Really. As an aside, the featured actor on the cover is in the movie for 10 minutes.
I will actually ask for my money back from the DvdNow. No kidding.
Good base of story. Liked it, didn't love it. May watch again later. The running voice over during the movie felt added to cover character development weakness of the script.
Last weekend I watched 'Black Death' with Sean Bean. Set in the Dark Ages, England during an outbreak of bubonic plague. The vatican has heard of a village where there have been no deaths, and rumours of people even rising from the dead (necromancy). Sends out the bully boys to find out what's going on. MUST be witchcraft etc etc. Quite slow at first and dark but turns into a ripping watch. Really good acting. Very gory in parts. Pro-pagan in sentiment. I recommended it to my friends. 7.5/10 *-)
Quite a good movie. Because they use time as a currency and as a difference between life and death, it brings quite a suspense throughout the movie and the filmography is great. You can see the colour they use is quite bland and black and white in the richer areas while in the poorer areas its a little more colourful but the buildings are cracked and so on. Love the Jaguar E-Type and the electric futuristic sound all the cars make! Man! Amanda Seyfried in a wig!
I decided to watch this film based on an Empire review which gave it four stars. It riffs on the storytelling style of Pulp Fiction and Go, by having multiple threads to a story told separately, showing the overlaps and building to a unified conclusion. I quite like this style, and it's very effective when done well (cf. Pulp Fiction). There aren't any major problems with the storytelling style, except that it doesn't really go anywhere. Individually, the stories of the four girls do progress, and there some mildly interesting vignettes (more so the first one, about Shannon), but collectively they don't really work well together, and the friendship that supposedly unites the different stories feels contrived. The tag line for the film was 4 girls, 3 days, 2 cities, 1 chance. There are four girls, it does take place over three days (more or less), it does feature two cities (though there's no real significance about that), and as for the one chance? Well, I'm still trying to work out what the "chance" is, because the resolution at the end isn't very satisfying, with a possible hint at a sequel, which would be completely uncessary (except perhaps to explain the first film).
Actor-wise, Noel Clarke, who wrote and directed, does a good job as Tee, playing a hard-man role of sorts. Of the four girls, they all do a reasonable job but no real standouts. I spotted a number of "cameos" from actors such as Michelle Ryan (appeared in one of David Tennant's last Doctor Who special), Ben Miller (of Armstrong and Miller) and Mandy Patinkin (Princess Bride), which made for a nice "who's who" game throughout the film.
Tucker & Dale vs Evil - 7/10 Comedy/horror taking the mickey out of "teens get lost in the woods" horrors. Instead of the rednecks killing the teenagers, the teenagers are terrorising the rednecks - due to a series of unfortunate accidents that make the rednecks look like psycho killers.
I saw the trailer for this a while back, and even though it had Justin Timberlake in the lead, I thought it had a neat concept to it, which reminded me of Phillip K Dick's stories. It also had some relevant echoes of the current protests which are drawing attention to the social and economic inequalities.
The basic plot point is that in some distant (?) future, currency is replaced by time, to the point where people are genetically engineered to stop aging at 25, at which point they get one more year before they die. Their life ticks down as a display on their forearm. They can earn more time (and life), and it can be exchanged between people by pressing wrists together. As is to be expected, though, people who have are welathy have all the time they need, while those who are poor live hand to mouth and die early.
I'll skip the acting because, frankly, there isn't much of it. No one really does any acting, and when they try it doesn't really come off. Only Cillian Murphy, who plays a cop/"Timekeeper", gets close, but even then he's a bit woodish. JT doesn't really strike any chords, though occasionally he seems to ad-lib a bit, and it adds a bit of spark.
The film is a little disappointing because it squanders a neat idea in favour of making a slightly-stylised chase movie with notes from Robin Hood and Bonnie and Clyde. It's almost as if they started to write an interesting film, then a bunch of kids started yawning and they threw in a handful of chases to get their attention. The whole "time" concept also wears a little thin when it becomes apparent that the writer's just did a "find" and "replace" for "money" with "time."
Overall, not a bad movie, but could have been much better. Adjust your expectations, and it's a bit of fun.
A 'based on a true story' about two brothers's photographic partnership in 1860's NZ and the relationship of their work to the times. Set in Dunedin, Oamaru, and on the Wanganui river. Acting a bit wooden at the start, gets going 10 minutes in. Excellent pace from there. Very well done.